NPCA 50 – Over League action at Ngara Sports Club against Stray Lions Cricket Club on 18th July 2021

James Ngoche produced an all – round performance with both bat and ball to spin Swamibapa Sports Club to a whopping 99 – run victory over Ruaraka Sports Club in their opening campaign of the 2021 NPCA 50 – over League.

Ngoche wrung the hosts for a mean 5/13 in just 7 overs, topping off his performance with the bat that had earlier produced an anchoring 29 off 58 balls. Peter Koech (2/34) knocked back the sticks of both openers while Jadavji Bhimji carried his form from the NICL cup to scalp 2/15 off his allotment.

However, it was his brother, Nehemiah Ngoche, batting at 8 who produced a masterclass, top scoring with a well-constructed 82-ball 59, four boundaries and a maximum to his name.

Electing to bat, Swamibapa put up 213 runs on the board, with four balls to spare off their allotted overs. Despite having Pankaj Sanghani run out by Pankaj Bhudia with a solitary run on the board, Rushabh Patel held fort until the end of the 21st over, suffering the exact same fate as his opening partner. Patel took off in style for his first match of the season, finishing on 56 off 57 balls, four boundaries therein.

The star – studded Thika road side managed to add only ten runs to last week’s score line, post 114 runs in reply, as they were wrapped up in 29.2 overs. Pankaj Bhudia (28 off 45) led the runs with Ugandan import Zephania Arinaitwe contributing 22 runs at the top.

Elijah Otieno (2/46), Kenneth Waiswa (2/32) and Pankaj Bhudia (2/24) were the pick of the bowlers for Ruaraka.

In the other Ngoche special played at Ngara Sports Club, Shem Ngoche also starred with bat and ball to help line up the hosts for 133 runs and pick a 6 – wicket win for Stray Lions Cricket Club.

Nothing seems to stray Ngoche’s fine form as he toiled to see the Lions home unbeaten on 42 runs off 24 balls, to cap off brilliant figures of 4/19.

Perhaps looking to replicate last week’s 201, Ngara’s elation to bat waned quickly as they capitulated for 133 runs inside 36 overs. Ngoche wiped through the entire middle order in consecutive wickets as new pace bowling acquisition from Obuya Academy Gerald Mwendwa finished with 3/22 and Krishna Katukala 2/16.

Tanzeel Sheikh, batting at 9 gave the Nairobi West side a glimpse of hope firing six maximums and one boundary in his 33 – ball 43 but with no support around him, dreams of a run-fest were quashed when he was stumped off the bowling of Gerald Mwendwa in the 31st over to seal the hosts’ fate. Rajiv Sutaria (22/34) and Mehul Patel (15/69) were the other run getters.

In reply, Zimbabwean wicket keeper batsman Gary Chirumuuta got off the rust with a run-a-ball 37 inclusive of two sixes and three boundaries with Krishna Katukala topping an all-round performance by adding 20 runs off 35 balls.

A touch distance away in a separate league fixture, Lameck Ngoche’s 2/55 was not enough to rescue Shree Cutchi Leva Patel Samaj (SCLPS) ‘A’ from the 224 – run hammering they received from a travelling Kanbis Sports Club whose national team quartet came out guns blazing.

On winning the toss, the visitors went wham with the bat, recording three half centuries on their way to amassing the highest total of the competition so far at 7/350.

Kanbis were fuelled by partnerships, the largest being worth 96runs for the fourth wicket by the Kenya national team duo of Dhiren Gondaria who top scored with 78 off 68 balls and Sachin Bhudia  with 60 runs off 46 balls; the pair accounting for ten fours and two sixes  and eleven fours respectively. All – rounder Nelson Odhiambo made it a national team trio, striking a 77 ball – 68 inclusive of 8 boundaries and last but not least, Rakep Patel who blasted 42 off 21 balls courtesy of four boundaries and three maximums.

SCLPS were bundled out for 126 runs in return, with contributions from Rahul Nathani (44), Jignesh Kerai (30), Ankit Bhanderi (17) and Hiten Vekaria (17.)

Nischay Kerai was the pick of the bowlers for Kanbis with 3/28 off 7 overs; Emmanuel Bundi, Mikunj Pindolia and Pushpak Kerai sharing two wickets-a-piece.

Harshin Varsani and Ankit Bhanderi registered identical figures of 2/53 for the hosts.

At Nairobi Gymkhana, the hosts suffered their second defeat in as many matches as a Zahid Abbas inspired half century led Sir Ali Muslim Club to a three – wicket change in fortunes.

Harsh Patel returned to reinvigorate Gymkhana’s top order, ending up on 58 off 75 balls, backed by Dominic Wesonga’s identical score off 51 balls. Lucas Oluoch (17), Kavi Dosaja (14) and Shay Shah (14) were the other contributors with the bat.

Sir Ali’s bowlers chipped in with Irfan Elani (2/29) and Tarandeep Singh (2/45) emerging as the pick of the bowlers.

In spite of the Ndandason brothers splitting five wickets between them off their full allotment: Lucas (3/43) and Martin (2/26), Sir Ali chased down the total with 32 balls to spare.

Tony Ochieng had a better day with the bat, putting up 32 runs on the board for the visitors to back up Abbas’ 51.

Shem Ngoche bowling at Ngara Sports Club

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